Past performance is no guarantee of future results:
In March of 2010, Sarah Palin released a map of 20 Congressional districts she and John McCain had won in 2008 but whose Congressmen had voted in favor of the recently passed health care reform bill. The map, released amid a wave of small-scale violence against Democratic lawmakers, marked each targeted district with a set of crosshairs. Palin, who had promoted the map by tweeting “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD,” drew controversy with the map, which some critics saw as a winking approval of violence.
— The Atlantic Wire, January 10, 2011: “Did Sarah Palin’s Target Map Play Role in Giffords Shooting?”
So if mere clip art has the potential for inciting violence and murder in the Atlantic’s eyes, they’d never run an article with a Photoshop of the Speaker of the House being arrested and the question, “How would Obama respond if he were dealing with hostage-takers or terrorists?”, right?
Oh, of course they would. But you knew that already:
As the Professor wrote in the Wall Street Journal the day after the Atlantic’s January 2011 article:
The critics were a bit short on particulars as to what that meant. Mrs. Palin has used some martial metaphors—”lock and load”—and talked about “targeting” opponents. But as media writer Howard Kurtz noted in The Daily Beast, such metaphors are common in politics. Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s district on a list of congressional districts “bullseyed” for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language like Mr. Obama’s famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”—it’s just evidence of high spirits, apparently. But if Republicans do it, it somehow creates a climate of hate.
There’s a climate of hate out there, all right, but it doesn’t derive from the innocuous use of political clichés. And former Gov. Palin and the tea party movement are more the targets than the source.
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To be clear, if you’re using this event to criticize the “rhetoric” of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you’re either: (a) asserting a connection between the “rhetoric” and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you’re not, in which case you’re just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?
The Atlantic answered in the affirmative to both of the above possibilities yesterday.
(H/T: Orrin Judd.)
Related: “MSNBC’s Joy Reid: GOP ‘Shot a Hostage’ by Shutting Down the Government.”
But didn’t MSNBC declare gun-related metaphors to be racist hate speech in January of 2011? Why, yes they did.
Oh, and speaking of which, more that was then, this is now “fun.” In this case, regarding raising the debt ceiling:
Update: (8/10/13): Upon reflection, perhaps I was wrong about The Atlantic.